Roe v. Wade not first decision Supreme Court overturned

According to historical records, the Supreme Court has overturned more than 100 decisions to set new precedents.

On Friday, June 24, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a decades-old ruling that protected abortion rights federally in the United States.

The ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health not only overturned Roe v. Wade, but also Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 ruling that upheld federally protected abortion rights.

After deciding some persons on-line wondered if this is the first time the Supreme Court has overturned a previous decision to set a new precedent.


Has the Supreme Court ever overturned a decision to set a new precedent?



This is true.

Yes, the Supreme Court overturned a decision to set a new precedent. VERIFY found more than 100 examples.


For a case to reach the Supreme Court, it must first be decided in either a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals or the highest court in a particular state if the state court has ruled on a constitutional issue. A lower court’s ruling would need to be appealed to the Supreme Court, where four of the nine justices must vote to accept a case.

When the U.S. Supreme Court makes a decision, it establishes a basis to be considered for later similar circumstances or precedent that would guide future legal decisions in lower courts and the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has long held onto the idea of ​​”stare decisis,” which is Latin for “to stand by things that have been decided.”

The Supreme Court applies the rigid decision doctrine by following the rules of its previous decisions unless there is “particular justification” or “strong reasons” — to override precedent, according to the Congressional Research Service ( CRS).

“Some judges and scholars have argued that when precedent conflicts with a proper understanding of the Constitution, judges should follow the Constitution and overrule erroneous precedents, rather than adhere to erroneous interpretations made by previous judges,” says the CRS .

The Supreme Court considers a variety of factors when deciding to overturn a previous decision and set a new precedent. They include:

  • The reasoning of the original court in the previous case.
  • Whether a rule or standard established by the previous case for determining the constitutionality of a governmental action is too difficult for lower federal courts or other interpreters to apply and is therefore “unenforceable.”
  • When the precedent is inconsistent with other court decisions on similar issues of constitutional law.
  • Changes in how judges and society understand the facts underlying a previous decision can undermine the authority of a precedent and cause the court to overrule it.

These four factors were cited by Justice Samuel Alito and the other justices who formed the majority opinion overthrowing Roe v. Wade had signed and are described from page 5 of the decision.

The case of Roe v. Wade wasn’t the first time in US history that the court set a new precedent. CRS identifies more than 100 cases in which the court has set new precedent.

The National Constitution Center in May released a short list of cases that the Supreme Court had previously overturned in a bid to set a new precedent.

The 1963 judgment in Gideon v. Wainwright required state courts to appoint attorneys for defendants who could not afford one. The decision overturned a 21-year-old ruling that said the opposite, which required states not to provide court-appointed counsel.

In the 1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court justices reversed the 1896 decision of Plessy v. Ferguson that created the separate but equal policy. The Brown ruling led to the desegregation of schools.

The decision in Brown was also cited in Dobbs’ majority opinion to overthrow Roe as a historical example of why it is sometimes necessary to overturn partial decisions or precedent.

So we can VERIFY, yes, the Supreme Court overturned previously landmark cases to set a new precedent.

The VERIFY team works to separate fact from fiction so you can understand what is true and what is false. Please consider subscribing to our daily newsletter, text notifications and YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Learn more “

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Alley Einstein

Alley Einstein is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Alley Einstein joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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